Monday, April 18, 2011

That enchanting time of year: April

I left my window open last night. This morning my heater, after more than a few weeks of rest, blew off the chill after my manual nudge. April 18th? You’re kiddin’ me, right? Those blossoms on the trees across the street have survived a flew hard whooshes of wind and now there’s a hint of green buds. Suppose Spring may be here. And after all, a cool day like this serves as a nice memory in July. Sizzle.

Yesterday seemed a bit grey in the first act, but the second act in the afternoon really came on strong with colour and fresh light. The overcast day seemed miles away in the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. Act One: dreary rainy London in February (perhaps a bit too harsh to judge English weather so symbolically). Act Two: somewhere on the coast of Italy in April. I’m sensing you’re seeing where this is going. Spring Break 1922. Right you are.

This time of year, after a bleakish midwinter, shoveling that snow, deadlines, heating bills and taxes (Oh joy, today’s tax day…did mine in bleak midwinter), you need a break. Strains of the olde MickeyDee jingle...”so get out and get away”…doesn’t rhyme with MET, sorry. You won’t be sorry if you go see Enchanted April. Take some friends. Lottie did.

Lottie sees an ad for “those who love wisteria and sunshine”, or rather oversees the ad while sneaking a peek at her soon-to-be-new best friend Rose's newspaper. They talk, Lottie convinces. They recruit time-sharing strangers in good social standing: a Lady and an older women with references. They go without men to this castle by the sea. Then men appear; two husbands and the landlord, all nice chaps, really. A story about an acacia tree. A grumpy yet fun castle-keeper cum chef named Costanza. Add an exploding hot water heater.

You may remember the dreamy atmospheric 1992 film released that April. How timely. The 1922 novel by Elizabeth von Arnim received a trade paperback re-release and in 2002 came the audio version read by Nadia May (aka Wanda McCaddon). 2003: along comes this young UCLA grad, Matthew Barber who adapts it for the stage. He receives a Tony Award nomination (no envelope, sorry) for best play. In 2010 a preview for a musical version. Not sure any recessionary investors bit, though. Whew. One wonders why so many adaptations. Next the video game: Not So Extreme Spring Break?

This play is just what I needed yesterday. Just a tad grumpy from a few nights with little sleep, the Sunday afternoon vacation to Italy by way of London was the right ticket. Fellow travelers enjoyed it too. Laughs, a few sniffles, some ooh and ahh’s as we entered the theatre for act two. Delightful actors, with posh English lilts in their musical speech that sounded soft and rather, well…posh. Costanza’s Italian broke that ice. And as always, before, at intermission, and after the show; goodies at the MET’s now legendary goody table. A greeting from Alan at the front, and hug goodbye from Karen upon exiting. You have four more enchanting opportunities to see all this...Wednesday through to Saturday, the 23rd.

Please pardon my lack of objectivity here. Have a lovely second half of your April.

Photo courtesy of the MET...Lottie (Katie Gilchrist) stands, holding forth, while Lady Caroline (Danelle Drury) lounges, attempting to get some peace and quite...not a chance.

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